There are more training styles/ways to train than I have fingers and toes and although you may be searching for the perfect way to train by asking someone you will not get the answer from them. The only way you will find the perfect way to train FOR YOU is by trying them all. I have found for a period of a couple of weeks one might training style such as drop sets but then it doesn't feel right after a while so I will use another.
My point is in bodybuilding you must overload, shock and never let the muscles get used to a program. I will never do an identical workout after each other for a body part. For example if I were training chest on Monday and then on Saturday my Monday workout will be different to the Saturday one, it doesn't have to be by much you only have to change an exercise or 2 or something small like that but the idea is to keep changing it up.
On that note I decided to give you a run down on all the different training styles I know of and tell you how they can be useful.
This is the most common training method of them all. After warming up you start with a weight that will get you say 12-15 reps, the next set you increase the weight and shoot for about 8-10 reps then on the last set pick a weight that will allow you to do say about 6 reps.
This overloads the muscle successfully and works very well. I recommend this style to beginners, as it is basic. That doesn't mean people who have been lifting for a while should not do pyramid sets it is excellent in all training routines.
This is the reverse of the above description of pyramiding. I do not suggest you do this on your first exercise but any other time in your workout to prevent an injury occurring from not adequately warming up. If you are performing 3 sets for an exercise use a heavy weight to get about 6 reps on the first set, then the second set reduce the weight so you can get about 8-10 reps and then the 3rd set allow the weight you choose to get 12-15 reps.
By training this way it allows you to lift maximum poundage's before fatigue sets in by doing the first 2 sets on a lighter weight. Excellent for those who have a sticking point in their training and cant add any extra weight on the bar.
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This is my personal favorite, it allows you to build up to your desired heavy lift while maintaining good form using the pyramid training style and then after that last hard heavy set it allows you to control the movement and burn your muscle out while using the exact form and tension. You can use a couple of different variations for this training style I will outline 2.
1.This is just your standard drop after your heavy set only performing one drop set to failure. So just say you are doing bench press and your heavy lift is 200 pounds, you get 6 reps out then straight away get up drop the weight on the bar to 100 pounds and rep out, make sure you have a spotter because this is brutal.
2. What is even more brutal is the ongoing drop set after your heavy set. I use this when I really feel my muscle group is lagging and it needs a kick up the ass to grow. I like to work up to a heavy set with 3 sets of about 10, then 6-8 then 3-4 reps. After the 3-4 rep set I will see how much weight is on the bar and replace the 20kg and 10kg plates with 5kg and 10kg weight plates until the desired weight is met.
After that perform another set of 2-3 then take the first plate off each side, usually will be 10kg each side then perform another set with no rest and remove more weight. I will do this until all I am benching is the bar which feels like a truck. And if you wanna look crazy in the gym after the bar reach for a broom handle and THAT is the ultimate DROP SET TO FAILURE.
Super sets are really good anytime of your workout and have proven to be very popular and effective way of training. I like to super set either at the end or in the middle of my workout but never for my first exercise as I like to move as much weight as possible on my first exercise. You can super set the same muscle or group or super set opposing muscle groups, it just depends what tickles your fancy I guess.
Same Muscle Group
This is useful for maximum blood flow to that desired muscle and gives you an awesome pump and burn. If doing biceps or back your forearms will usually burn out before the muscle you are working does, if you are doing chest your triceps will tire before the chest. That is why I wouldn't do these first in a training program they would either be done in the middle or at the end.
A method when I perform super sets on the same muscles is making the first exercise involved a (HEAVY) exercise and then the second exercise a higher rep exercises. By doing this it provides a variation. So for example perform 3 sets of incline dumbbell curls for about 6 reps super setted with cable curls doing 15 reps.
Opposing Muscle Group
This method is awesome for a shock to the system. Ok look at it this way, when you train chest you will do a set, strike a pose in the mirror, flex a bit then sit down and wait a couple of minutes until your next set, well if you do bench presses for chest why not go straight into a set of lat pull downs or chins for the back. You will become fatigued, your arms will ache, you will obtain a massive pump and walk around like you can walk through walls then rest a minute and do again. Your body will be asking what tha…
Do this for a week or 2 and I promise 2 things. You will increase in strength and you will shock your body.
Tri sets are a useful way to overload the muscle in a similar way to super setting. Only difference is that you perform 3 exercises in a row. I recommend this if you have to have a short workout due to time constraints or if you want to totally punish your muscles. Refer to my TRI SETTING article for some exercises to use when tri setting.
My definition of a giant set is performing the same exercise for a muscle but instead of resting between sets rest the weights down for 5 seconds and perform reps until after a rest you cannot perform more than 2 reps then your giant set is complete.
I suggest you start with a weight you can only get about 10 reps with and when you cannot perform any more than 6 reps with a given weight slightly reduce it. Only reduce the weight 3 times however and keep going until your muscles wont let you perform more than 2 reps because they are too fatigued to move. This is another useful shock method.
Training to failure can mean many things, it can mean Positive failure, Partial Reps, Negatives or using the rest/pause method. Failure is a great way to train it makes sure you have trained the muscle hard. Failure shouldn't be reached on all sets and exercises to prevent over training.
This is where a spotter is present whilst performing an exercise and helps out with the final few reps when a little tap or a push is given so it is possible to push the weight past a sticking point or fatigue. By doing this it is a successful and positive way in overloading the muscle.
I like to use partial reps when a spotter isn't present. What partial reps are is when you are unable to complete a full rep keep going doing as much of the rep as possible, keep doing partials until you cant move the barbell/dumbbell an inch. By doing partials you should receive a crazy pump.
I like to use negatives whenever I don't use drop sets. To go to negative failure a spotter must be present. To make negatives highly successful as soon as you cant perform another full rep without the help of your spotter you let him know and he lifts the bar up not worrying about how much you are lifting to raise the bar, the positive fraction of the movement is not important at this stage of the set.
When the bar has been raised you will controlled the bar down with a 4-5 count then repeat the process, do this until you cannot control the bar on the way down anymore, you shouldn't get more than 4 negative reps. (Only works successfully when a relatively heavy weight is being used allowing only 4-8 reps with full range of motion)
This is another overload technique useful when a spotter is not present. Ok for example when you are performing a set of dumbbell bench presses you get to 8 and cant do another full rep well instead of performing partials you sit up rest the dumbbells on your knees.
Then count to 10 and lie back down again and push out another couple, you can do this 1 or 2 times what ever suits your fancy but it is very effect way of getting past sticking points without dropping weight and keeping that load on the muscles.
Well that's all folks… hope this gives you a new insight to training and I hope you try at least a couple of these styles. Any questions don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, train hard.
Until Next Time,